Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Why Work-at-Home Scams Succeed so Often

. . . And It's Not Laziness or Stupidity

You only have to turn on your computer to see ads like, "Data Entry -- $200/Day Working from Home." Or, "Earn $50/hour answering short online surveys."

Every time I see one of these ads I think, "Why do people fall for this? Don't they know that it's probably a scam." And, I shake my head and move on.

But, I think these ads shine a light on the culture we live in right now - much more brightly than we'd like to think. Following are three reasons I think these scams work so well - and they go beyond the requisite "most are just plain lazy."

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3 Reasons Work-at-Home Scams Succeed

1. Time: As in, I think most don't want to dedicate the time to find legitimate work-from-home opportunities.

I've been a freelancer since 1993, and I can tell you, finding projects (eg, marketing for work) takes two to three times longer than completing the work. I was lucky when I first started out in that I had worked in publishing for 6+ years before I started freelancing. So, I had some industry contacts that I could tap.

But, eventually, those ran out and I had to "beat the proverbial pavement" to make a go of it full-time. I think most would contentedly work at home - and do darn good jobs - if the assignments came to them.

BUT, it's those who are willing to put in the work to find the jobs who achieve work-at-home success.

Lesson: If you are not willing to spend time marketing for work, don't expect to find work-at-home/freelance success - unless you are lucky enough to have an employer who will extend you this courtesy.

2. Business Acumen: When you work from home, you are, in effect, a small business owner. This means you are responsible for things over and beyond just completing the job you were hired to do. Like what?

Like negotiating contracts, project management, accounts receivable, accounts payable, etc. Who wants to take the time to learn to deal with all that! Most of us moan and groan about getting our taxes done once a year.

If you are a small business, you have to be extremely organized all the time -- not just pull some paperwork together once a year.

Lesson: Unless you are willing to take on the back-end responsibilities of owning a small business (eg, recordkeeping, marketing, etc.), you'd probably be better off looking for a job than a work-from-home situation.

NOTE: The above assumes that you work from home as a freelancer, not as an employee of a company.

3. The Grass is Greener: Many think that working from home is the answer to a lot of their problems. Eg, no more commuting, being able to meet the kids at the bus stop, taking a walk during the middle of the day.

But, you know what, you probably won't have a chance to do any of those things on a regular basis. The hard, cold truth is, you will probably be working many more hours as a freelancer than you would be as a full-time employee.

Why? Because you never know when the projects are going to just dry up, you take on almost everything that comes your way so that you can weather the dry spells.

Freelancing is intense periods of work, followed by periods of absolutely nothing.

If you're a person who likes the predictability of a paycheck - or needs the predictability of one - you'd probably be better off staying employed full-time.

While freelancing does offer its rewards, predictability isn't one of them - and, the grass can be dry and patchy on this side of the fence.

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